Guidelines for Law Enforcement
These guidelines are intended for law enforcement authorities seeking information about Medium accounts or users. These guidelines are intended to help inform law enforcement and the public about our practices, and are not legal advice.
If you’re not a law enforcement agent, your request for user data should be submitted through our User Happiness team (write to us using our contact form).
What is Medium?
Medium is an online publishing platform that lets users read, write, and share ideas and information. People and organizations publish content through our website, mobile site, and client applications (e.g., Medium for iOS).
What Account or User Information Does Medium Have?
Medium provides hosting for account profile photos and header photos, as well as some image and video uploads. However, users may also post images that are not hosted by Medium (for example, by embedding a photo or video from another site).
Users may also save drafts of posts or create semi-private posts, which are not public but can be shared with collaborators.
Data Retention Practices
If we receive a valid request from U.S. law enforcement to preserve records which constitute potentially relevant evidence in legal proceedings, we will preserve, but not disclose, a temporary snapshot of the relevant account records for 90 days pending service of valid legal process.
Preservation requests, in accordance with applicable law, should:
- Be signed by the requesting official;
- Include the @username and URL of the subject Medium profile (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium);
- Have a valid return official email address; and
- Be sent on law enforcement letterhead.
Preservation requests may be sent via the methods described below.
Requests for Medium Account Information
Medium responds to valid legal process seeking user account information issued in compliance with U.S. law.
Non-Public, Non-Content Information Requires a Subpoena or Court Order
Non-public, non-content information about Medium users will be released to law enforcement only in response to appropriate legal process such as a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process — or in response to a valid emergency request, as described below.
Contents of Communications Requires a Search Warrant
Contents of communications (e.g., post drafts and photos) will be released only in response to a valid search warrant from an agency with proper jurisdiction over Medium.
Medium Will Notify Users of Requests for Account Information Unless Prohibited from Doing So
Medium’s policy is to notify users of requests for their account information and provide a copy of the request prior to disclosure unless we are prohibited from doing so (e.g., we receive an order under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b)).
Exceptions to prior notice may include exigent or counterproductive circumstances (e.g., emergencies or account compromises).
In cases in which we are not permitted to give a user prior notice, we will provide post-disclosure notice to the user unless legally prohibited from doing so.
What Details Must Be Included in Account Information Requests?
When requesting user account information, please include:
- The @username and URL of the subject Medium account in question (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium);
- Details about the specific information requested (e.g., basic subscriber information) and its relationship to your investigation;
- A valid official email address (e.g., email@example.com) so we may get back in touch with you upon receipt of your legal process.
Please ensure that the information you seek is not publicly available on our site.
We are unable to process overly broad or vague requests.
Requests may only be submitted by mail; our contact information is available at the bottom of these Guidelines. Requests must be made on law enforcement letterhead.
We do not accept legal process via email.
Production of Records
Unless otherwise agreed prior to disclosure, we currently provide responsive records in electronic format.
The records that we produce are self-authenticating. Additionally, the records are electronically signed to ensure their integrity at the time of production. If you require a declaration, please explicitly note that in your request.
Emergency Disclosure Requests and Exigent Circumstances
Medium evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis in compliance with relevant U.S. law (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(8)). If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an exigent emergency involving the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it.
How To Make an Emergency Disclosure Request
If there is an exigent emergency that involves the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person that Medium may have information necessary to prevent, law enforcement officers can submit an emergency disclosure request by mail or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Emergency Disclosure Request” (the quickest and most efficient method).
Please include all of the following information in an emergency disclosure request:
- Clear indication on your cover sheet, which must be on law enforcement letterhead, that you’re submitting an Emergency Disclosure Request;
- Identity of the person who is in danger of death or serious physical injury;
- The nature of the emergency (e.g., report of suicide, bomb threat);
- Medium @username and URL (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium) of the subject account(s) whose information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
- Any specific posts you would like us to review;
- The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
- The signature of the submitting law enforcement officer; and
- All other available details or context regarding the particular circumstances.
International law enforcement authorities may also submit requests for emergency disclosure.
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties
A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) defines how the U.S. and another country will help each other in legal matters such as criminal investigations. Through an MLAT, a foreign government can ask the U.S. government for help in obtaining evidence from entities in the U.S., including companies like Medium. If the U.S. government approves the request, Medium would respond to it.
Medium’s policy is to promptly respond to requests that are issued via U.S. court either by way of a MLAT or letters rogatory upon proper service of process.
Assisting a Medium User
If you are assisting a Medium user with an investigation and want to obtain a copy of the user’s non-public account information, please ask the user to contact us directly (see below) to request his or her own information.
Medium account holders can obtain a download of content posted to their Medium account by writing to us using our contact form with the subject line “Requesting Medium Archive.”
Medium does not currently offer account holders a self-serve method to obtain other, non-public information (e.g., IP logs) about their Medium accounts. If a Medium user requires a copy of his or her non-public account information, the user should request this information directly from Medium by sending an email to email@example.com with subject “Request for Own Account Information”; we will respond with further instructions.
Most issues can be resolved by having Medium account holders write to us using our contact form.
Other general inquiries from law enforcement or government officials can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our address is:
A Medium Corporation
c/o Legal Department
760 Market Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94102
Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.